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December 09, 2003 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-12-09

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, December 9, 2003


U £ut &


SINCE 1890

Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editors

Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of the majority of
the Daily's editorial board. All other articles, letters and cartoons do not
necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.

I've never known an
administration more
narrow, more limited and
more mean; the lack of
respect and the meanness
is beyond me."
- Actor Robert Redford, on the Bush
administration's environmental policies,
before afundraiser in Nevada for
Democratic Sen. Harry Reid, as
reported by The Associated Press.




Say 'perspective' one more time I dare you
11 semester I've place, somewhere joyless, thanks to this lot of people are telling me I need perspec-
been sitting in guy with the books. tive as though perspective is a physical
the same seat Today, it's the final insult. My thoughts object, a kind of diploma I'll receive if I
in my philosophy dis- drift (or rather, careen) toward all the suffer long enough in the real world. The
cussion section (the things I try to pretend I don't think about, "real world" being a horrible, stressful
back corner on the like "Maybe I should have been a biology place where everyone's either out to get
r. left), but Wednesday I (or at least political science or economics) you or couldn't care less that you exist.
walk in one minute major" and "God I'hope I don't end up Essentially the same things they told me at
late and this guy is sit- writing infomercials." the end of high school about college.
ting in my seat - I think about graduating in April and It's not that I doubt life's ability to
kicked back, comfy, the year sabbatical I'll be taking from make me the interesting person I've always
books all over the place - like he's been academia and how people usually think I'm dreamed of becoming. What I doubt is that
waiting for this a long, long time. I gape at going to do it because I want to get some any one experience (or set of experiences,
him. It's stupid, it's just a chair (my practical or wacky life experience under place of residence, terrible or fantastic job,
chair), but I am incredulous. Who does my belt so I'll have something to write sight seen or derring-do done) can change
that? Who switches seats with three class about later. Their eyes light up and their much of what keeps a person awake at
periods to go? And to the back corner seat! imaginations run wild: So I want to be a night. Time, place, location, occupation -
The back corner seat is an institution. This writer, do I? I must be planning something these are secondary. It's always the stupid
is not merely a case of gee-I-think-I'll-sit- spectacular! One of those crazy eccentric little things that make or break us - the
somewhere-else-today. This is deliberate. things you always hear about writers guys that steal our seats, the idiotic things
This is outrageous. doing: opening up a bikini shop in Tikrit, we blurt out and regret instantly and replay
I sit down one row forward and three working on an assembly line in a factory over and over in our minds every day for-
seats to the right and try to shake off my where they put the covers on telephone ever, the tiny little offhanded remarks that
righteous indignation. Righteous indigna- books, locking myself in a log cabin and shatter our hearts into a billion pieces. The
tion, like dread and love, never creeps up subsisting only on wheat berries and creek small joys: long letters from dear friends,
on me - it drops from the sky like an water and carving a novella into the walls cloud-watching, singing in the shower.
anvil to the head and I see stars (or hearts with a Swiss army knife. Nearby Meijers and good pizza, fountain
or tweeting birds or what have you) until Usually I smile and let them think what pens and coffee at night.
something equally unsubtle snaps me out they like. Maybe. If there's one thing I'm Perspective on one's place is illusive by
of it. For now, though, it's hopeless. My good at, it's leading people to believe I'm definition. We can't really know where we
defenses have been down because it's the more interesting than I actually am. But stand until after we're not standing there
end of the semester and I'm behind - ter- some people worry. They worry I'll get anymore, but we can learn plenty about the
ribly behind in everything, school-related married and forget to go to graduate world from just about anywhere if we keep
and otherwise - and at times like this I school, or that I won't do anything danger- our eyes peeled and our minds open. Some-
rely on small joys to keep my veneer of ous or miserable enough to remind me that times we don't need to change seats to fig-
relative sanity from disintegrating, to keep all the world is not like college, that most ure out that the back corner really is the
me thinking about the things that are sup- Americans are going to vote President Evil best one in the whole room.
posed to matter to everyone, the big-pic- into office again next year, that big cities
ture problems: politics, justice, God, etc. and small towns can be unfriendly places. Henretty can be reached
I'm tired and now I have to sit in a strange "Perspective" is the word of the day. A at ahenrett@umich.edu.

Career Center offers valuable
sewices to students
On behalf of the Career Center staff, I
want to thank you for yesterday's editorial
(Need a job?, 12/08/03) on the merits of using
Career Center services. We believe it is
important for students to know about the
myriad resources available on campus and
appreciate you taking the time to identify our
office as one in which students can get the
assistance they need as they seek out intern-
ships, full-time employment or continue their
education. On a large campus, it is often dif-
ficult to capture students' attention, so we
value the fact that you've taken the time to
indicate to your readership the ways in which
our office can assist them on career issues. In
this type of an economy, students need to tap
every opportunity available. Thank you again
for sharing information about the Career Cen-
ter with the student community.
Senior associate director, Career Center
Sport writers and coaches
mistaken, Oklahoma best
team in the country
In what is a very rare occurrence, the
sports writers and the National Collegiate
Athletic Association football coaches actually
agree on the No. 1 and 2 teams in the coun-
try. It's such a shame, then, that they must
both be so horribly wrong. Then again, that's
nothing new.
While the 35-7 shellacking Kansas State
gave to Oklahoma may have shattered the
appearance of Sooner infallibility, it did
absolutely nothing to elevate the skill level of
either LSU or Southern Cal.
Southern Cal. has coasted along to a lack-
luster one-loss season with a weak schedule.
The score of its season-ending win over Ore-
gon State deceptively hid the truth of the
game: an inconsistent offense and a defensive
secondary that has holes a mile wide. Good
team? For sure. Do they have a chance
against a tried and tested opponent? The hun-
gry Wolverines will prove an emphatic "no"

beyond this writer.
Trojan fans argue that they were never
beaten by 28 points as the Sooners were.
So what? The Trojans never played a team
who finished in the top ten. Especially this
season, we have seen that on any given Sat-
urday, any team can beat anybody else.
People who give this big loss (and it is a
big one) absolute weight in the national
title race are intentionally missing the
point. So I'll spell it out for them: At the
end of the day, the Sooners would knock
the piss out of the Trojans. They're not
even in the same class. The same writers
that voted in the Trojans as the number one
team in the land this week wrote last week
that this 2003 Oklahoma team is one of the
best college teams to ever play the game.
What? You can't have it both ways. You
can't write one week "best of all time" and
then write "not even top two in the coun-
try." It makes no sense. Nothing has
changed. Sure they lost. But they are the
same team who week after week dominate
opponents. Even the best have bad days.
Are Trojan fans going to cry about this for
the next year? Of course. Will they wail
about the injustice of the BCS. They will
argue that their impending loss to Michigan
was just a bad day - that they really are bet-
ter than that.
I don't like the BCS as a rule. I don't like
it because it usually gets things wrong. Com-
puters look at nothing but numbers and
ignore the big picture and the context. Per-
haps they're learning because for once, the
computers got it right.
Lassiter's lectures are
engaging and informative,
worthy of the Golden Apple
As a recent graduate who possesses
great adoration for the University, I often
reflect upon my time in Ann Arbor with a
obfuscatory warmth that helps me ignore
the school's few shortcomings and instead
focus on its many strengths. However, even
with this cheery predisposition, I am still
able to separate the truly remarkable experi-
ences from others that were simply great.

in which I am lent perspective by Lassiter's
His courses were encompassing educa-
tional opportunities, also the products of the
well-structured and meaningful discussion
sections I attended. While the quality of
those sessions owed, in great part, to the
graduate student instructors who led them,
those graduate students seemed to have
received excellent guidance and understand-
ing from Lassiter. His passion was always
evident. Lassiter, in my mind, is one of the
University's faculty members who sets the
bar for excellence in education.
Given these experiences, it came as no
surprise to me that Lassiter won a Golden
Apple award last week. He is a most deserv-
ing teacher, and the University community
should continue to recognize and appreciate
the wonderful assets he contributes to the
school. Congratulations, Matt.
Oriental' not a racial
slur, has no negative
I was appalled after reading Lauren
Strayer's column (Racism among friends,
12/04/03). In the column, she described a
meeting with an old friend that casually
used the term "Oriental" to describe the
various ethnicities in his apartment.
Since when has this word become a racial
slur? Strayer should not have overreacted to
this usage, as it is common usage in society.
She thought that her friend was a racist and a
bigot just because he said there were some
Oriental people on the second floor.
The term Oriental is used commonly in
society, including by people that consider
themselves Oriental/Asian. The guy across
the hall from me is half Thai, and his mother
uses the term Oriental to refer to herself.
The prestigious University of London has
a School of Oriental and African Studies.
There is a research group called the
American Schools of Oriental Research
that studies "the peoples and cultures of
the Near East."
Nearly all of my family and friends have
used that term. I have never once in my life


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